Walker: Double success is a wonderful reward for Havant

Ben Walker and Rob Gibson celebrate winning the Southern League. Picture: Innes Marlow (161239-1)
Ben Walker and Rob Gibson celebrate winning the Southern League. Picture: Innes Marlow (161239-1)
Hampshire's James Vince hits a six during the NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston, Birmingham. PPP-170309-212743001

Hampshire start T20 Blast campaign against Glamorgan

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BEN WALKER was an extremely proud captain as Havant finished their season in fine style by completing a league and cup double.

Though their Southern League premier division home clash against Burridge was abandoned because of rain Havant still managed to secure the necessary points to ensure the title was theirs.

And yesterday they added the T20 knockout crown with a 65-run win over Sarisbury Athletic at the Ageas Bowl.

Ben Walker’s side proved they were the outstanding team in all formats of the game by dominating in both league and cup cricket.

Walker was delighted to see Havant return to the top of the local cricket scene.

‘It has been a brilliant effort from every one involved,’ said Walker.

‘The guys have put in a monumental effort and the feeling in the camp is wonderful.

‘All the hard work they have put in has paid off.’

Walker was so happy to be able to complete the job at the Ageas Bowl – a special occasion for all the players who get on really well together and will long remember their superb 2016 season.

He added: ‘To finish it all off at the Ageas Bowl, where we don’t get to play very often, makes it special.

‘It has all been down to team spirit at Havant because it is like playing cricket with your best mates.’

In the league contest Havant knew at the start they only needed two points to clinch the title.

Burridge won the toss and put the hosts into bat in the damp conditions.

Havant suffered an early setback with the loss of Jez Bulled before a run was on the board.

Rob Gibson (77) and Ben Walker (94) however kept Havant on track with a massive 184-run partnership for the second wicket.

Burridge vice-captain Dan Hewitt (four for 33) then snatched three quick wickets to rein the home side in.

At the end of 50 overs Havant had reached 259 for nine wickets.

In reply Burridge were 10 for one when heavy rain forced the game to be abandoned after just five overs of their innings.

But Havant had already done enough to make sure the league title was in the bag.

It was a great success for the team who had been looking to secure their first title since 2011.

In the T20 final yesterday, Havant made a flying start racing to 54 without loss in the first five overs.

Gibson was again in supreme form as he helped keep his side rattling along to 124 for two off 13 overs.

Chris Stone then (42 not out) helped Havant post a target of 184 for five off their 20 overs.

Sarisbury were soon in trouble as they started their reply struggling to 13 for two at the end of five overs.

Havant kept turning the screw and at the 10-over stage the division one outfit were 51 for four still needing an improbable 134 runs to win.

It proved too much in the end for Matt Journeaux’s side as Havant coasted to an easy win.